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‘ [164] Thomas, with his present troops and the influx of new troops promised, will be able to assume the offensive.’

On the 2nd, Sherman himself was at Kingston, and his four corps, the Fifteenth, Seventeeth, Fourteenth, and Twentieth, with one division of cavalry, were stretched along from Rome to Atlanta. The railroad and telegraph lines had been repaired, the sick and wounded were sent back to Chattanooga, the wagon trains were loaded and ready to start at a day's notice; the paymasters were paying the troops; and Sherman waited only till the Presidential election was over in order to start. There was now no serious enemy in his front. Hood remained at Tuscumbia and Florence, busy in collecting shoes and clothing for his men, and the necessary ammunition and stores for the invasion of Tennessee; while Beauregard, who had been placed in general command at the West, was at Corinth, superintending the rebel preparations.

On the 6th of November, Sherman wrote at great length to Grant, confiding to him the doubts and anxieties, the plans and imaginings that crowded upon his busy mind. He seems even then to have had occasional misgivings about his strategy, which, however, he quickly brushed away. ‘The only question in my mind,’ he said, ‘is whether I ought not to have dogged Hood far over into Mississippi, trusting to some happy accident to bring him to bay and to battle; but I then thought that by so doing I would play into his hands, by being drawn or decoyed too far away from our original line of advance.. I felt compelled, therefore, to do what is usually a mistake in war—divide ’

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